[percy-l] Walker Percy Interviews Himself (an extract)

Jim Forest jhforest at gmail.com
Fri Oct 28 06:13:27 EDT 2016


*Walker Percy Interviews Himself (an extract)*

Q: What kind of Catholic are you?

A. Bad.

Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?

A: I don’t know what that means . . . . Do you mean do I believe the dogma
that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?

Q: Yes.

A: Yes.

Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age?

A: What else is there?

Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism,
agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism,
Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.

A: That’s what I mean.

Q: I don’t understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism
as a rational and honorable alternative?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: It’s not good enough.

Q: Why not?

A: This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of
it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer “Scientific
humanism.” That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a
delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for
nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e., God.
In fact I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less. I don’t see why
anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God
and would not let go until God identified himself and blessed him.

Q: Grabbed aholt?

A: A Louisiana expression.

Q: But isn’t the Catholic Church in a mess these days, badly split, its
liturgy barbarized, vocations declining?

A: Sure. That’s a sign of its divine origins, that it survives these
periodic disasters.

Q: You don’t act or talk like a Christian. Aren’t they supposed to love one
another and do good works?

A: Yes.

Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellowman or do many good works.

A: That’s true. I haven’t done a good work in years.

Q: In fact, if I may be frank, you strike me as being rather negative in
your attitude, cold-blooded, aloof, derisive, self-indulgent, more fond of
the beautiful things of this world than of God.

A: That’s true.

Q: You even seem to take certain satisfaction in the disasters of the
twentieth-century and to savor the imminence of world catastrophe rather
than world peace, which all religions seek.

A: That’s true.

Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellow Christians, to say
nothing of Ku Kluxers, ACLU’ers, northerners, southerners, fem-libbers,
anti-fem-libbers, homosexuals, anti-homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats,
hippies, anti-hippies, senior citizens.

A: That’s true – though taken as individuals they turn out to be more or
less like oneself, i.e., sinners, and we get along fine.

Q: Even Ku Kluxers?

A: Sure.

Q: How do you account for your belief?

A: I can only account for it as a gift from God.

Q: Why would God make you such a gift when there are others who seem more
deserving, that is, serve their fellowman?

A: I don’t know. God does strange things. . . .

Q: But shouldn’t one’s faith bear some relation to the truth, facts?

A: Yes. That’s what attracted me, Christianity’s rather insolent claim to
be true, with the implication that other religions are more or less false.

Q: You believe that?

A: Of course.

— from “Conversations with Walker Percy”

edited by Lewis A. Lawson and Victor A. Kramer

University Press of Mississippi, 1985

* * *

recent books:

*The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton's Advice to Peacemakers:*
*Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment: *
*Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins: *

*Books in print*: www.jimandnancyforest.com/books/
*Jim & Nancy web site*: www.jimandnancyforest.com
*Photo albums*: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/albums
*Facebook*: https://www.facebook.com/jim.forest1

*Jim & Nancy Forest*
Kanisstraat 5 / 1811 GJ Alkmaar / The Netherlands

* * *
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